SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A new bill in Illinois would no longer allow parents to claim religious exemptions when opting out of vaccinations for their children.
The proposal would also limit most types of medical exemptions, and allow students as young as 14 to get a vaccine without parental consent. Public health officials said it will prevent outbreaks of diseases thought to be eradicated, including the measles.
According to the Chicago Tribune, if passed, Illinois would become the sixth state to remove religious exemptions, effectively making only certain medical conditions a way for children in Illinois schools to avoid getting vaccinated.
A separate bill would add Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations to the list of immunizations required by Illinois schools. The vaccine is a series of two or three shots, depending on the child’s age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. The CDC says HPV can cause cervical and other cancers.
Some parent groups oppose the bills, saying decisions on vaccinations should be left up to parents and families — not the government. Some vow to leave the state should the bills pass, according to the Tribune.